I Peter 4:1.
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
Forasmuch is not something we say these days. We would probably say, “Because Christ suffered. . . .”
Jesus voluntarily gave Himself up to physical abuse and suffering in our behalf. Armed with the love of the Father and the comfort of obedience to Him, Jesus endured agony for us.
What Peter is saying here is that we can follow Jesus’ example. We can be armed with the mind of Christ to endure suffering, if God so allows.
How does one have the mind of Christ?
We develop the mind of Christ through the reading, study, and love of God’s Word. Every word of scripture is inspired of God through the Holy Spirit. My life verse is Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend (cause to stumble) them.”
The love of God’s Word engenders inner peace. The love of God’s Word keeps us from tripping and falling over temptation that Satan strews across our pathways like little rocks. It is through the knowledge and love of God’s Word that we can get the victory over temptation. Satan figures out our vulnerabilities and tempts us accordingly. When we have the peace of God in our hearts, through His Word, we will NOT stumble over those temptations. Even when we experience great fear and dread, we can have the peace of God that enables us to face it and endure it.
Why does Peter say that those who have suffered for Christ will cease from sin? Is one perfected by suffering for Him? I’ve thought about this over the past weekend, knowing I would be writing about it today. No, we are not made sinless through suffering. However, I believe that when one has truly suffered for Christ’s sake, his faith is strengthened and refined, and his tendency to sin is decreased with the new understanding of what Christ suffered for his sake.
Verse two says it perfectly. Persecution has the tendency to encourage us to live the rest of our lives in obedience to God’s will, and not in giving in to human lusts.
I’m not very brave. I would much rather choose to live for God because of my love for Him than to have to suffer persecution that would bring me to that point of surrender.